Orwell Bridge reopens amid A14 and A12 traffic chaos

The eastbound carriageway of the A14 over the Orwell Bridge has now been re-opened Picture: GREGG BR

The eastbound carriageway of the A14 over the Orwell Bridge has now been re-opened Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

The Orwell Bridge was re-opened in both directions just before 3pm amid huge tailbacks.

Highways England re-opened the eastbound carriageway first before the westbound side was freed up.

Approximately three miles of traffic has been reported on the eastbound side and under a mile on the westbound.

Widespread traffic has also been seen on the A12 northbound heading towards the Copdock interchange with traffic moving along at just 5mph.

On the A14 eastbound there are already delays of 12 minutes or more as traffic builds around the newly re-opened road.

The road was closed at 10am today amid reports of strong cross-winds from the Met Office.

The closure has already caused chaos on the roads as vehicles flooded into the diversion route via the A1156, A1189 and A1214 through Ipswich.

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Paul Brackley, 53, was travelling to Ipswich to have an MOT inspection carried out on his car.

The journey from Holbrook, little more than nine miles, took him two hours and 10 minutes.

“I believe I could have walked it faster,” he said.

“The traffic has been unbelievable, why they have to close the bridge to cars I will never know.

“It’s not us that have the problem it’s lorries, there is plenty of protection on that bridge for smaller vehicles.

“I’ve seen ambulances on blue lights struggle up the Wherstead Road - if someone has a heart attack in this town today they will die.”

Highways England had originally said the bridge was likely to close at 8.30am, believing that wind speeds were due to pick up as traffic hit its peak period this morning.

But following a teleconference with the Met Office, Highways England made the decision to close the bridge at 10am.

This follows news that wind speeds are expect to peak at between 50 and 55mph at 10am until 2pm today.

Highways England will continue to closely monitor wind speeds.